Biggest Breakthrough Over Past Year

At the beginning of each year, I ask our team to reflect on Motista’s biggest breakthroughs in the past year.  Overwhelmingly, our team had a consensus response looking back on 2012:  The biggest breakthrough came from our clients, in how they used Connection Intelligence to make better decisions across a wide swath of strategic and tactical areas.

When Alan Zorfas and I started Motista five years ago, we knew we had to accomplish some big tasks:  quantify emotional connection, tie emotion to business outcomes, and create intelligence on brands that’s always current and on-demand, just to name a few.  But, we knew the tallest order was delivering intelligence about consumer emotion that marketing and business leaders could use every day to answer questions, solve problems and validate decisions.  If brands are going to build emotional connection, they have to do so day in, day out.

In 2012, we were excited to see use cases whereby brands:

  • Created highly effective positioning strategies leading to market share gains – strategies substantiated with robust intelligence and finalized in just weeks;
  • Measured the impact of customer experience touch points on emotional connection, and identified which touch points were most predictive of cross-sell;
  • Used Connection Intelligence to explain unanticipated changes in revenues and further demonstrate emotional connection is highly correlated to top-line sales;
  • Quantified the impact of digital and social channels on emotional connection, serving as a basis for significant budget decisions;
  • Determined optimal, unique emotional messaging for specific, high-value attitudinal segments; and
  • Moved quantitative emotional connection metrics onto dashboards alongside financial and operational measures, putting senior marketers in a superior position to explain decisions to their financial and operational peers.

Of course, these are but a handful of examples from 2012.

In 2013 our top priority is to continue working with our clients to apply Connection Intelligence to their decisions – strategic, tactical and operational – because this is the pathway to stronger customer relationships and financial outcomes.

Congratulations to Team Motista and our customers on a fantastic 2012!

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With Less Than a Week to Go, Romney Is Strengthening His Emotional Connection to Voters

For the last seven weeks, Motista has been quantifying the emotional connection voters have with the two Presidential candidates. We fielded our survey just after the conventions, after the second debate, and again last week, after all the debates were completed.

The results are startling.

Even though President Obama was widely seen as “winning” the last two debates, Mitt Romney has been building on his emotional connection to both independent voters and his GOP base supporters at an accelerated pace. While President Obama has strengthened his emotional ties to voters as well, especially with his base, his gain has been a fraction of Romney’s.

Every day the news media reports on dozens of polls tracking the “movement” of voters in swing states and nationally in favor of one candidate or another. Sadly, the discussion is no more insightful–or predictive–than all the hoopla the week before the Super Bowl.

Rather than survey what voters are thinking, based on what the talking heads say, what they see in the political ads, or what the candidates are saying on the stump, Motista has turned the lens onto the voter to ask “what really matters to you?” Looking at the emotional connection the two candidates have with the voters offers some fresh insight and meaningful data.

It turns out, voters become emotionally connected to a candidate when they believe their vote for that candidate will result in a better future, a better life for their family, connect them to a community, and make them feel more secure. And when voters connect to a candidate on these emotional factors, they are much more likely to get out and vote on Election Day.

For instance, nearly 90% of emotionally connected voters say they will “definitely vote” for the candidate on Election Day. Among voters who find their candidate qualified to be president but don’t feel that emotional connection, 60% of them will “definitely vote” for the candidate. And, if they’re still uncertain of the candidate’s essential qualifications, that number drops to 13%.

So, as emotional connection strengthens, voting outcomes will be determined.

Motista has identified the Top Seven Emotional Drivers of Voting Intent to gain insight into what will really happen on Election Day. Here’s what you should know about how Obama and Romney are emotionally connected to the voters:

  • The candidates are statistically tied among independents.
  • But after the second debate, Romney’s scores grew 10.6% on average while Obama’s only grew 2.4%. That’s more independent voters moving into Romney’s camp.
  • Comparing their emotional connection to their base supporters, Romney now has a stronger connection to his base than Obama on all seven emotional drivers.
  • Romney’s emotional connection scores with his party base increased on average 13.6% vs. Obama’s 3.3% after the second debate.

Behavioral Metrics Show Romney Momentum

We also look for “behavioral hints” to what might happen on Election Day. Emotion = Behavior. Let’s take one measure of advocacy, “I forwarded information about the candidate to a friend or family member in the past 30 days.”  After the second debate, our survey found that 37% of Obama’s base said they forwarded information about the President, compared to only 31% of Romney’s base. After the third debate, Romney leapfrogged Obama. Now, 44% of Romney’s base are advocating for him actively vs. 31% of Obama’s. This kind of advocacy behavior is a much more powerful indicator of what might happen on Election Day.

All said, Romney has significantly closed the gap and should be happy with these trends. Even though Obama has strengthened his emotional connection to both independents and his base, it has been at a slower rate.

To look at our final campaign survey results in depth, click here.

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Debate Round II: Through the Lens of Emotional Connection

I was listening to a political pundit on the radio yesterday comparing the second presidential debate to a boxing match: “Obama won on points!”  Indeed, he may have, but not all punches are created equal. So, which punches really connected with voters? Which candidate connected with Americans on the strongest emotional drivers that really motivate people to go to the polls?

For Obama:  We see him scoring meaningful points on firming up his base. Going toe-to-toe, he reinforced his support of women’s issues, Hispanics on immigration and—in a tussle in the corner with Romney—he quipped that his investment portfolio wasn’t as big as his. Helping average middle-class voters feel Obama is one of them. Obama connects with voters on belonging, reflects my lifestyle and happiness. And, he edges out Romney on the strong emotional driver good for society. Obama has been a “movement” since the last election. He likely connected on some of those themes and solidified his base.

For Romney: While Republican media voices wished Romney had been more aggressive on the administration’s handling of the embassy terrorist attack in Libya, that may not have moved the needle that much with independents or undecided middle-class voters. Romney’s shining moment was in the earlier rounds where he pummeled Obama’s record and tied his plans and priorities to another key emotional driver:  confidence that the future will be better. Americans expect tomorrow to be better than today. He explained how the budget deficit, unbalanced trade with China and ability to grow the economy would impact income and opportunities for the middle-class. He added, “It shouldn’t have to be this way.” This approach and sentiment might just hook some of those undecided voters to Romney’s corner.

So, any knockout punches? No. Which candidate will be most successful building emotional connections with voters in the coming weeks? Motista will again be surveying likely voters in the coming days and will be looking for shifts in emotional connections that drive turnout and may decide the election.

We’ll be following the trends so stay tuned for Round III.

Download the latest Presidential Emotional Connection Study at

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What’s really motivating Hispanic consumers to buy tablets?

Hispanic consumers have proven to be avid early adopters of new mobile technologies, including tablets.  According to research from Zpyrme, Hispanic consumers will spend $18 billion on mobile technology devices (including tablets) in 2012, up a staggering 30% from 2011.  And, research from eMarketer estimates 24% of Hispanics will own a tablet by the end of 2012, compared to 21% of Caucasians. Our clients in the tablet market are keenly focused on this population, and asking, “How do we best motivate Hispanic consumers to buy our tablets?

We took at look at our recent Connection Intelligence on Hispanic consumers in the tablet market, and here’s what we learned:

Hispanic and Non-Hispanic consumers are at par when it comes to basic expectations of their tablets, such as product features, quality, ease-of-use, availability of content and overall satisfaction.  Seventy-one percent (71%) of Hispanic consumers are highly satisfied with their tablets, compared to 72% of Non-Hispanics.

What is most motivating Hispanic consumers to buy new tablets is a very unique set of emotional connections, connections that enable Hispanic consumers to find meaning and personal benefit in their lives.

The emotional connections most motivating Hispanic consumers to purchase new tablets now are:

  • Admiration:Others would admire me if I used a tablet;”
  • Personal Value:A tablet would make me a more valuable person;” and
  • Success: Using a tablet would say I’m successful.”

For Non-Hispanic consumers, two of the strongest motivations are family oriented: “Using a tablet would make me a better parent” and “Using a tablet would improve life for my family.”  Interestingly, while family oriented emotional connections like these are often associated with Hispanic consumers, in the tablet market, they are not the strongest motivations.

Within the tablet market, Hispanic consumers are more emotionally connected than Non-Hispanics.  In lockstep, purchase intent is 40% stronger among Hispanic consumers.  In addition, Hispanic consumers are more likely than Non-Hispanics to respond to direct marketing, recall advertising, and research new tablets through a product reviews resource like CNET or Consumer Reports.

We at Motista are excited that leading tablet brands are using Connection Intelligence to understand the specific motivations of different consumer segments and leveraging this intelligence to achieve superior results.

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How Do We Really Motivate Affluent Shoppers?

Like many in the world of retailing, Motista’s retail clients are keenly focused on affluent shoppers. While households with incomes over $100,000 account for 18% of all U.S. households, affluent consumers now constitute 50% of all U.S. retail spending. Retailers are frequently asking Motista how to best motivate affluent consumers to shop more, pay more and recommend their brands. In search of insights, we took a look at Motista’s Q1-2012 intelligence on retailers and here’s what we learned:


Retailers have BIG opportunities to leverage emotional connection to motivate affluent shoppers. We compared affluent shoppers who are emotionally connected to their retailers to affluent shoppers who are highly satisfied with their retailers (e.g., giving high marks to service, value, and selection) but not emotionally connected.  Here’s what we found:

Willing to Pay Higher Prices: Emotionally connected shoppers are less price sensitive.  Sixty-two percent of connected affluent shoppers are willing to pay their retailers higher prices for comparable products, compared to 14% of satisfied affluent shoppers.

More advocacy: Emotional connection powers advocacy. Eighty-three percent of connected affluent shoppers “feel good” telling their friends, family and colleagues about their retailers, versus 18% of satisfied affluent shoppers. Seventy-two percent of connected affluent shoppers “share important values” with their retailers, compared to 6% of satisfied affluent shoppers. Moreover, 28% of connected affluent shoppers have recently recommended their retailers to friends, family members or colleagues, versus just 6% of satisfied affluent shoppers.

More shopping: Affluent shoppers who are emotionally connected are shopping more. Twenty-nine percent of connected affluent shoppers have recently used loyalty program points to make a purchase, compared to just 5% of satisfied affluent shoppers. Twenty-eight percent of connected affluent shoppers have recently browsed items on their retailers’ mobile sites through their PDAs or smartphones, compared to 7% of satisfied affluent shoppers. And, 25% of connected affluent shoppers have recently added items to their shopping carts on their retailers’ websites, compared to 6% of satisfied affluent shoppers.

The emotions most motivating: During Q1-2012, affluent shoppers were most motivated to shop their retailers when they feel their retailers help them “perform at a higher level.” Closely behind was the emotion “community,” when shoppers feel they’re helping their community by shopping their retailers. Feeling their retailers help them live their lives the way they want to live them was the third strongest emotion driving affluent shoppers in Q1.

Operationalizing emotion: Our retail clients are increasingly focused on operationalizing emotion – delivering specific emotional connections across touch points and experiences. Using the top emotion in Q1-2012 (“perform at a higher level”), we analyzed 60 touch points to see which were delivering this emotion in Q1. A sample of this analysis:

Percent who feel “perform at a higher level” when they:

Based on our analyses, it’s emotional connection that is driving affluent shoppers – who constitute 50% of all purchasing – to shop their retailers.  We’re excited to be working with leading retailers that are using Motista’s intelligence to create stronger brands, better marketing programs and more engaging shopper experiences.

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How Do We Prove the Value of Facebook and Twitter to Our Business?

In recent weeks, Motista’s retail clients have asked us to help quantify and prove the business value of marketing through Facebook and Twitter. 

Our retail clients continue to express “cautious optimism” when it comes to these vehicles.  Of course, Facebook and Twitter represent huge audiences that are spending more and more time online.  At minimum, our clients have established presences on Facebook and Twitter to support brand awareness and engagement.  However, recent efforts to open Facebook storefronts (so-called “F-commerce”) by big retail brands have fizzled, with Nordstrom, J.C. Penney and The Gap opening and then quickly (and very publically) shuttering their Facebook storefronts.  Our clients are just in the experimentation stage when it comes to Facebook advertising. In all cases, only a small portion of our clients’ marketing resources are devoted to Facebook and Twitter today.

Each of our retail clients has accumulated at least hundreds of thousands of followers and “likes,” but there are still many questions surrounding social media networks, such as, “What’s the business value of having followers and likes?  How hard should we work to build our following on these platforms, and how much should we invest to grow followers and likes in the future?”


Using Motista’s Q4-2011 intelligence on retail brands, we compared consumers who follow their retailers through Facebook or Twitter with consumers who do not. Here’s what we found:

Social Media Followers Are More Emotionally Connected: Forty-six percent of social media followers feel shopping their retailers “reflects their personal lifestyles” vs. 21% of non-followers.  Among social media followers, 53% choose their retailers when they want to “indulge” themselves vs. 28% of non-followers.  And, 46% of social media followers feel their retailers add “joy and pleasure” to their lives vs. 20% of non-followers.  Social media is an effective vehicle for building emotional connection.  And stronger emotional connection leads to better business outcomes.

Higher Response Rates: Twenty-eight percent of social media followers have responded to recent promotions from their retailers sent via direct (snail) mail, vs. 10% of non-followers.  The emotional connection formed through social media is translating into higher response rates.

More Shopping: Thirty-eight percent of social media followers have, in the past 30 days, added items to their shopping carts on their retailers’ websites.  This compares to 9% of non-followers.  While social media consumers may not be ready to buy through Facebook storefronts, they are shopping their retailers’ websites more often than their counterparts.

Pay Higher Prices: Twenty-four percent of social media followers say they would pay higher prices for comparable goods from their retailers, vs. 13% of non-followers.  The emotional connection social media consumers form with their retailers translates into less price sensitivity.

More Advocacy: Seventy-three percent of social media followers have recently recommended their retail brand, vs. 40% of non-followers.  We know deeper emotional connection and advocacy go hand-in-hand, and Facebook and Twitter are natural environments for brand advocacy.  Additionally, social media followers write reviews more often:  32% have recently provided a positive review of their retailer online, vs. 4% of non-followers.

Consumers following their retailers on Facebook and Twitter are forming strong emotional connections, which lead to better financial results for retailers.  Using Connection Intelligence from Motista, retailers are building unique emotional connections for their brands through Facebook and Twitter and effectively measuring the impact of these vehicles on their businesses.

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The Trouble with Market Research…

Tom Fishburne Marketoon

Our friend Tom Fishburne recently published a  great cartoon entitled “Market Research”  that speaks directly to the problem we founded Motista to help address—the length of time it takes for marketers to get the consumer insights they need to do their jobs.

As usual, Tom’s post was spot on (and he’s kindly allowed us to post this particular cartoon here on our blog, as well!).  The time, resources and waiting involved in the traditional market research processes we’ve all relied on for decades—quant studies, focus groups, store intercepts, concept testing, etc.—just have not kept pace with the speed of business (or consumers, for that matter) today.  Unfortunately, this traditional model, while still providing valuable insights, is broken and ripe for disruption.  Market researchers need new tools that can help them gain insights into what motivates consumers at the emotional level, and they need those insights right now, not in weeks or months.

As luck would have it, those are the kind of timely insights into consumer motivations that our connection intelligence tools were designed to provide.  And with Motista, you don’t have to wait until you’re nearly retired to get them!

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Motista’s Top 3 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2012

Trend watching is a favorite pastime for most marketers, and at Motista, we’re no different in wanting to be at the forefront of helping our customers spot trends that will help them be better brand marketers, as well as keep up with the proverbial Joneses!  Over the coming months, we see a few trends really shaping what marketers do and how they plan their campaigns.  If we were betting people here are the trends we’d place our money on for the next year and beyond:

  1. Marketers will focus more and more on “emotional connection”
  2. Mobile devices will continue to accelerate and have a profound impact on customer advocacy
  3. Marketers will be integrating social media, mobile and digital marketing into their core brand strategies—these are no longer emerging outliers

Emotional Connection

The biggest reason marketers will be focusing more on “emotional connection” is because they have to.  Connecting on an emotional level with consumers is becoming a necessity because companies are having a difficult time driving top line growth and they can’t cut costs much more than they already are.

We have reached the post-satisfaction age.  For 40 years, trying to satisfy customers has been the driving force for marketers.  But now that customers expect to have a satisfactory experience with products or brands, the trend over the next decade will be around building “emotional” connections with consumers.  Specifically, not how consumers rate, like or dislike products, but how meaningful brands are in the lives–helping them feel better, improve their lives and achieve their personal goals.

Leading this trend will are companies that have chosen to get on the front end of it.  This is also driving a need for new and better intelligence that makes the human connection with consumers easier to understand and act on within their business organizations. More and more companies will soon learn that “emotional connection” will help will not only increase brand loyalty, but sales, as well.

Mobile Advocacy

Mobile is growing at a faster pace than the Internet when it was first adopted.  Consumers across the globe have mobile devices in hand almost at all times, affecting how we shop. With the convenience and immediacy that mobile brings with it, we see mobile enabling marketers to more deliberately drive advocacy.  In the past, marketers have looked at advocacy as  a phenomena enjoyed by the best brands rather than a lever they can pull in their marketing plans.

It’s no longer enough to track metrics for your “promoters” – marketers need to see their existing customers as their most valuable media channel.  Mobile allows this because of its immediacy and ubiquity.  And, mobile customers are more connected to their brands.  According to our data, over 50 percent of mobile users were likely to forward retail brand information to a family member or friend within the past 30 days versus 35 percent of users who visited the Internet or 20 percent of all retail shoppers.  Mobile transforms customers into brand advocates and makes advocacy actionable for marketers.

Channel Integration

New channels have emerged at an alarming rate over the past decade, and companies have struggled to include them in a comprehensive marketing plan. The time for integrating social media, digital and mobile marketing into core brand strategies rather than treating them like “specialties” within the overall marketing mix has already come.  Marketers can’t afford to experiment or follow a “parallel path” in these areas any more with all of them emerging as fast as they have.  These channels are having a profound impact on consumers, the market and society, so marketing will need to evolve at a faster pace to accommodate and apply them to drive purchases, value and margins.

On the one hand, it’s a natural evolution. On the other, advances in consumer intelligence will enable brand marketers to more easily and routinely achieve success for their campaigns via true integration tactics.

What trends do you see shaping the marketing landscape in the next few years?

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December Consumer Connection Roundup

The Consumer Connection Roundup features the top articles and blogs that catch the attention of the Motista Team each month on issues and events related to consumer connection.

Here are the most noteworthy articles on marketing and advertising trends we read during the month of December. This month’s articles include a look at how  the Old Spice Guy hopes to make lightning strike twice by personalizing to local markets, and the ways in which marketing led to the rise of one iconic brand and the fall of another. If we didn’t include articles that you thought were especially provocative, please share them with us in the comments section.

Articles of the Month for December:

  • Old Spice guy goes cross-platform for holiday campaign by Douglas Quenqua, ClickZ – Few advertising campaign icons have resonated with consumers as quickly and memorably as Isaiah Mustafa’s “Old Spice Guy.” Introduced in the summer of 2010, Mustafa’s Old Spice campaign immediately went viral, earning 40 million views in a single week and elevating sales of Old Spice Bodywash by 27 percent. Over the holidays, the company tried to further capitalize on Mustafa’s consumer advocacy by personalizing its holiday campaign to local markets. Connecting with customers one-on-one is the best form of engagement. Although big brands like Old Spice cannot do this for everyone, this is a great way to illustrate band alignment to consumer needs and drive brand loyalty.
  • Vogue chief Anna Wintour: “I don’t really follow market research” by Rupal Parekh, AdAge – Breaking news: the Devil wears Prada and doesn’t have much use for consumer statistics. Vogue mastermind, fashion icon and penultimate marketer, Anna Wintour, explains that it’s instinct, not market research that drives her editorial process. While we can learn something from successful marketers who rely their “gut,” most marketers are seeking more reliable intelligence to gain consumer insight on “emotion” and make better decisions…even in fashion. We’ve found that with today’s advances in research and technology, companies can gain a competitive advantage by connecting with their customers on an emotional level.
  • Jack Daniel’s marketing magic by Jim Stengel, Fortune – Jack Daniel’s legendary Tennessee whiskey is magic in a bottle, in more ways than one. Since coming into ownership under Brown-Forman in 1956, the company has “seen a series of brilliant innovations that have preserved and extended the richness of its brand experience, while never veering off its hallowed ideal.” Jim Stengel takes an insightful look at how gutsy marketing ploys and bold branding decisions transformed a small town distillery into a global megabrand that feels just as uniquely American and down-home as it did a century ago.
  • What every marketer can lean from Saab’s crash and burn by Patrick Hanlon, Forbes – Let’s face it- sometimes, bad cars happen. The Fiesta, the Pinto and the Edsel all come to mind as automobiles that deserved to chug away into the great beyond. But what happens when, as in the case of Saab, a good car goes under because of branding missteps and poor marketing decisions? As Patrick Hanlon brilliantly summarizes,” a brand that cannot sit across from a buyer.. and tell them where they’re from, what they’re about, what identifies them in the market, how they’re used, the language they use that surrounds their community, what they’re not and never want to become, and who’s steering the way—will ultimately fail.” Connecting with consumers is only as good as your brand’s identity. If you can’t define your brand, how can you convey the value to your target audience?
  • The 10 most-watched ads of 2011 on YouTube by Tim Nudd, AdWeek –From Jennifer Aniston’s Smart Water campaign that managed to squeeze in every imaginable marketing ploy in less than 3 minutes to the nostalgic Star Wars themed Volkswagen commercial, these ten brands struck viral gold in 2011. Check out the videos to see some of the ingenious ways in which these ten brands connected with the public in 2011. Which one is your favorite?
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November Consumer Connection Roundup

The Consumer Connection Roundup features the top articles and blogs that catch the attention of the Motista Team each month on issues and events related to consumer connection.

Here are the most noteworthy articles on marketing and advertising trends we read during the month of November. This month’s articles range from discussing the relevance of the 4P’s to learning marketing strategies from three of hip hop’s social media gurus. If we didn’t include articles that you thought were especially provocative, please share them with us in the comments section.

Articles of the Month for November:

  •  Why do B-schools still teach the famed 4P’s of marketing, when three are dead? by Jens Martin Skibsted and Ramus Bech Hansen, Fast Company – The advent of the Internet has changed marketing forever and ultimately rendered previous marketing strategies, like the 4P’s (promotion, place, price and product), antiquated. We agree with the author’s new “golden rule” for today’s hyper competitive market: “The only way you can increase the value of your brand is by increasing the value of your offering.” And the only way to do this is to leverage the emotional connections that motivate your customers to act.
  • Engagement: Key customer loyalty indicator by Mark Johnson, MediaPost – How valuable is customer satisfaction? Some brands would argue that it is the most important marketing indicator, yet this survey shows that customer satisfaction is no longer king. How important is satisfaction if a customer can be completely satisfied with a company’s product or service, but chose not to continue to purchase that product or service? This is where emotional connection comes in – the more emotionally connected to a brand, the more loyalty the consumer will display. Our recent data release that examined what drivers brands should pursue during the holiday season yielded the same conclusion.
  • Starbucks forges ‘Moments of Connection’ by offering experience by Maureen Morrison, Ad Age – It was a bold move by then-chairman, current-CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, when he announced that the Starbucks brand had deteriorated in conjunction with the decline of the average number of transactions per store. The experience that propelled Starbucks into one of the world’s largest global brands had changed so much that former advocates began to look elsewhere for their java fix. Starbucks realized that offering products customers want and providing a positive experience is the best form of marketing, and the company was able to turn things around after returning to the in-store experience that previously defined the brand.
  • Sherwin-Williams is painting a new picture of marketing by Keith Levy, Forbes – Writer Keith Levy states that, “It’s the age-old advertising debate and most people would argue (myself included) that the emotional connection is almost always the more powerful and enduring connection to the consumer’s wallet.” We couldn’t agree more. Determining how to become a part of a consumer’s life will result in increased emotional connection, and the “Color Chips” campaign by coatings industry leader Sherwin-Williams has done just that and helped the company grow its DIY market share.
  • 3 lessons learned from rap’s social media kings by Dita Quinones, iMedia Connection – This article offers great insight into marketing strategies that three of hip hop’s biggest names implemented to became social media gurus. The underlying theme of how MC Hammer, Soulja Boy and Nicki Minaj become so adept at Web 2.0 services like Twitter and Facebook – emotional connection. Writer Dita Quinones points out that, “Once the emotional connection is made, fans will actually pay $300 — even if it’s their last dollar — for a Jay-Z ticket because they have an emotional connection with him and his brand.” You’ll be surprised by the amount of advocacy fans will show when they are emotionally connected!
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